A roving office, you may ask? Well, by way of explanation, I’m currently writing this article from Starbucks, and it’s very possible that I won’t finish it here. Or maybe that I will, but that will happen on a different day from today.
That’s the idea of a roving office — it’s the all encompassing-term that I tend to use to describe someone like me, AKA, someone who works pretty much anywhere.
It’s a common scenario for those of us who are freelancers of any type, but I can speak from my experiences of working as a writer and a social media manager. No two situations are exactly alike, and I include myself in that, as I have an office job as well as multiple venues of paid and unpaid work (which is all wonderful, exciting experience, that can all be listed on a resume). Some freelancers are strictly freelancers, and don’t spend the bulk of their days at a desk job.
The “Roving Office” Lifestyle – Is it for you?
No matter your circumstance, today’s global world of technology allows us to be able to work anywhere. As with anything in the work world and in your personal life, there are upsides and downsides to having the ability to work with the click of a mouse — especially if your entire business (if an entrepreneur) or job (as an employee or a freelancer) depends on it. And what comes from that is a variety of unique experiences.
The Unique Experiences of Working Remotely
Being able to work remotely brings with it a variety of unique aspects and experiences. That is, you experience things differently from someone who may work at a desk job in a corporate office. Below are some examples how remote working as an entrepreneur is different from the status quo.
1. You Can Work from Home
You know that working from home is sometimes the most convenient situation to ever have, while at the same time, can be lonely and isolating. Also, no snow days. Ever.
“Remoting in” is all the rage now, and that’s because the technology to “remote in” is available to us in a greater capacity than it ever was before. When you’re sick and you can’t get into your office, it’s a wonderful alternative, especially since you can work in your PJs. But working from home also leaves you in a situation in which you rarely interact with your co-workers. Some may say that’s the best news they could possibly hear. Others may long for the camaraderie that comes with a positive work environment in which you work well with others. And, well, if you’re the only person who “remotes in” on a regular basis, and your co-workers are enjoying a snow day, that’s just too bad for you.
2. Finding Wifi is an Adventure in and of Itself
You understand the struggle of getting that perfect WiFi signal.
“I’m sorry, do you have the WiFi password?” You’ve asked that one single question anywhere from your best friend’s apartment to the café around the corner from your house to the gym to the airport. Anywhere you need to check email, you figure out a way to check it, but hell hath no fury like you when you can’t log in to a WiFi network. And no, it’s not a “smartphone addiction.” You just have a roving office without any real home base.
3. You Find “Offices” Everywhere
And you have learned where you work best.
Having to work anytime, anywhere, due to the nature of your job or business, has allowed you to experiment with a variety of roving offices. I have worked in hotel rooms, my bedroom, my grandmother’s apartment, the backseat of a car, on a train or a plane, and at Starbucks. But I find that Starbucks works best out of all of those options. For you, it may be Starbucks, but it may be outside. It may be be an internet café. It may be some random location no one has ever heard of. But when you have a roving office, you find it. When you’ve worked in so many places, it happens naturally. And no, this is not a paid endorsement for Starbucks.
4. It’s Easier for You to Focus
You can call upon laser focus when needed.
I don’t mean all of the time. Not 24/5, 365. But, when you need to meet a deadline and you’re sitting somewhere that isn’t a quiet, secluded workspace with virtually no distractions, you learn to tune them out on your own. Sometimes it takes headphones. Sometimes it takes not talking to anyone. Sometimes it takes shutting off your phone, for once. But when you have no choice but to work in environments where distractions abound, you develop laser focus. And as such, you get the job done.
5. Things can be a Little Messy, but You Like it That Way
You’re used to your car, or your purse, or your “work bag,” being a little messy.
If your main mode of transportation is, as mine is, your car, you’re ferrying yourself all over the place from one engagement to the other; not to mention, from one “office space” to another. And you need to pack your stuff with you, so, sometimes, you just casually toss it on the passenger seat, or in the back, or in that random glove compartment space you never bothered to take the “Warning” tag off.
However, regardless of your main mode of transportation, you don’t travel light. Ever. Among the contents of my own “work tote” are my laptop (lightweight for easy travel and packing), about six pens I forgot about buried on the bottom of the tote, my makeup bag that I forget I leave in there when I’m actually getting dressed in the morning, a bottle of water, miscellaneous receipts for Starbucks and other types of food on the go, papers related to my many gigs and projects (sometimes, they are lucky enough to find their way to a folder), my Apple AirPods (convenient for aforementioned laser focus), an extra phone charger, gum, emergency chocolate, and perhaps most importantly — the yellow legal pad that essentially lists my life in bullets. My work tote, however, is merely an example.
You need to organize your “stuff” in a way that works for you. But, when you’re always running from one “office” to another, don’t get discouraged if your system gets a little messy. You can always clean out your car, or your purse, or your tote, or those overused sheets on the aforementioned yellow legal pad… (oops…)
6. You Wouldn’t Change it for the World
You have long since accepted that the roving office life is… exciting.
While I do have a weekday desk job in my family’s business, I could never only have a desk job. Or, I should say, a “one-desk job.” There’s something highly stimulating about never sitting at only one desk per day; I sit at my desk at my dad’s office, at a table in Starbucks, at a makeshift desk (and by desk I absolutely mean my lap) on a commuter train… and as expected, I’m finishing this piece at a different metaphorical desk from the one I started it in — my bed!
Do you love the life of working in a roving office? It’s totally cool either way – the life isn’t for everyone. But we want to hear about your experiences! Let us know in the comments below.